The Fighter

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Chapter 13: Agent Carver

I paced in my living room as I waited for Drew to pick me up. I was dressed more professionally than I ever had in a pair of black slacks, a black camisole bodysuit, and a black blazer. Black pumps decorated my feet, and my hair was neatly curled. I looked and felt like a completely different person.

There was a soft knock on my door and I immediately rushed over, excited to see Drew. To my surprise, Joan stood there, looking humble and exasperated. I sighed and left the door open to let her follow me into my living room.

“What are you doing here?” I grumbled, not making eye contact with her.

“Are you seriously still mad at me?” She demanded dubiously, putting both her hands on her hips. Her brown eyes glinted with irritation.

I casted my eyes skyward. “What do you think? You lied to me, went behind my back, and didn’t think to tell me any of this when I told you I’d been recruited by the FBI,” I snapped, grimacing at her. I’ll admit, it wasn’t the most fair thing of me to isolate her when I was starting to forgive the team. It was probably because she was supposed to be my best friend.

She threw her hands up in the air. “Yeah, and look where you are now, Dee. I bet you didn’t see yourself in this position a couple of months ago,” she retorted.

I scoffed. “Are you seriously justifying your betrayal because your involvement in this scheme worked?”

No,” she sneered, then paused. “You know what? Yes, I am. A few months ago you were working at a library, hating your life, shutting literally every single person out including myself and your mother, and wondering when you were going to get a job related to what you majored in. And now look. You’re graduating from the FBI Academy with a solid job, you’ve got a good thing going with a great guy. You’re facing your problems head on, opening up to others, dealing with your past, and making friends. So excuse me for partaking in something that actually improved your life. Because that’s what friends do, Dee,” she exclaimed firmly, pointing her finger in my direction animatedly as her face reddened.

I gaped at her. She’s right. I was being too harsh. I inhaled deeply. “You’re absolutely right. Aside from Drew, I took it hardest from you. I guess I didn’t take a second to look at it from your perspective,” I responded, meeting her gaze finally so she could see I was genuine. “And I’m sorry. This has been a difficult transition for me, but I’m really trying here.”

Joan’s eyes softened and her shoulders dropped. “I know it has. The fact that you just apologized rather than demanding me to leave or storming out of here proves that you’ve changed. I’m proud of you, and I wanted to be there to support you today. That’s why I came here.”

I smiled meekly at her and stepped toward her to embrace her. She stood perfectly still for a moment as I wrapped my arms around her. It was foreign to me too, but it felt right. I relished her warmth as she melted into me and reciprocated the gesture.

“I didn’t realize you were a hugger now,” she said, her voice muffled from her face being in my shoulder.

I laughed and pulled away. “It won’t happen regularly so don’t get your hopes up.” Before she could respond, there was another knock on my door. “That must be Drew,” I murmured as I went to open the door again.

My heart nearly stopped when I saw my mom standing there. “Mom?” I cried, throwing my arms around her. Damn, I really was a hugger now. “What are you doing here?” I wondered, then glanced up to see Drew leaning against the doorframe, looking aloof. He wore a navy suit and white shirt, the top button undone and revealing his masculine collarbone.

“Well, this fine young man called me the other day and told me you were graduating from the FBI Academy and offered to fly me out. So, here I am,” she told me, shooting me a pointed glare with her soft green eyes. “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do, young lady.”

I smiled fondly at her as I let both her and Drew into my apartment. I made eye contact with Drew as he passed me so he could see the grateful look on my face. “There’s a lot I haven’t had a chance to fill you in on. Mom, this is my best friend, Joan. Joan, this is my mom, Kathleen,” I introduced. “You’ve clearly already met Drew.”

She beamed at me after shaking Joan’s hand. “This is such a cute place, Dee. I can’t believe I haven’t been here to see it.”

I shrugged, suddenly feeling shy from so many people being in my apartment. “I don’t normally have visitors, so…” I let my voice fade. “I’m happy to leave whenever.” I mainly just wanted everyone out of my space, but I was fighting the urge to panic about it.

“That sounds great. How about Joan and I give you and Drew a moment?” My mom offered, giving us a knowing look before looping her arm through Joan’s and guiding her out of my apartment.

I bashfully blinked up at Drew. “You brought my mom here?”

He raised a shoulder. “I thought it would be a nice surprise.”

I cocked an eyebrow at him. “You had to have known she didn’t know about you, us… whatever we are. Not even about this job.”

Drew’s steely eyes twinkled. “Of course. I expected nothing less from the elusive Madelyn Carver.”

I sighed and took a step closer to him. Even in my heels, I was significantly shorter than him. The top of my head aligned with his jaw. “Why did you do it?”

He grabbed my hips and pulled me into him, our bodies barely brushing. “Because I care about you, and in relationships you tend do things for one another. It’s part of a partnership.”

I tilted my chin up. “So this is a relationship then?” I wondered, half-teasing. I was curious about what he thought we were. I snaked my arms up and nuzzled my face into his neck. I was apparently craving human touch, otherwise I wouldn’t have been so touchy-feely with everyone.

“It’s whatever you want it to be,” he whispered.

And just like that, the hormone goddess plopped down on her yellow stool at her desk and began writing a love note, her cheeks flushed and her heart soaring. I pulled away from him. “We can talk about that more after my graduation and after my mom leaves.”

He nodded slowly as a smile crept onto his face. “I just want you to know I’m proud of you,” he told me.

I paused. “Thank you,” I responded quietly, then tilted my head to the side as a thought occurred to me. “Why did you come over the other night?” I wondered.

He smirked at me, those sweet dimples of his making their appearance. The inner hormone goddess snapped a few photos to remember how damn cute they were. “Why do you think?” He challenged, cocking an eyebrow and folding his arms across his chest.

I mirrored his mannerisms and crossed my arms. “To get in my head, I’m sure.”

Drew shrugged and widened his stance. This was clearly a power move, and I found it oddly attractive. “I wanted you to be reminded of what was waiting for you at the end of this,” he admitted.

I narrowed my amber eyes at him. I wished that my body wasn’t responding to him, but between the devious look on his handsome face, the way he looked in that fucking suit, and how he’d left me hot and bothered the other night, it was impossible. “Well, all you really did was leave me hanging.”

He feigned pity. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Maddie. That must’ve been so hard.”

He wants to play games? Fine.

I smirked at him, stepped closer, and grasped his chin in my hand. I gently pulled him in and pressed my lips to his. I waited until he kissed me harder and unfolded his arms to reach for me before I stepped out of reach. Drew looked at me with mild disappointment and disdain, at which I bit my lip to arouse him. Without fail, his steely-blue eyes flickered to my lips and darkened.

“We should get going. I don’t want to be late to my own graduation,” I said hoarsely before turning and leaving my apartment before he could protest.

Due to my short height, I stood front and center among the group that was graduating the FBI Academy today. I wanted to writhe under the spotlight, and sweat threatened to bead on my forehead and neck from nerves. Currently, the Training Director was announcing the names alphabetically by last name, and mine was coming up quick since it was close to the beginning of the alphabet.

I scanned the crowd subconsciously, probably to help ease my nerves. For a brief second, at the very back of the room, I saw my mother. No, not Kathleen, my mother. My biological mother. The one who’d be dead just over sixteen years. I sucked in a breath and clasped my hands in front of me to ground myself.

I’m just imagining things, just like that day in the gym, I thought, rationalizing my delusion when my eyes flickered back to the spot only to find no one there. My emotions were all over the place, so surely I was hallucinating my mother because of everything else going on, right?

“Madelyn Carver, our first ever graduate of the R.A.F.T. program,” the Training Director announced. I heard clapping resound from where the team sat, but I swallowed nervously and went to shake the Director’s hand, then moved down the line to shake several other peoples’ hands. Richard was at the end, who was beaming ear to ear.

I should’ve been happy. Elated. Excited. Proud of myself. And yet, the death of my mother suddenly loomed over me like a dark cloud threatening to rain. I should’ve been past this by now, given it was pushing two decades since it had happened. And yet, I was imagining my dead mother. I should’ve been focusing on my new job and the fact that my adoptive mother was here supporting me, and yet I was hung up on a false daydream.

I shook Richard’s hand and half-assed a smile. My stomach was tying itself into knots. I forced myself to focus on not tripping as I returned to my place on the stage, and hoped that it would distract me from the sudden urge to vomit.

Why was I imagining her? Why now, after all this time?

The ceremony couldn’t finish soon enough. And when it finally did, we were herded closer together to get photos of us as a group, and then the Training Director was pulling me aside. Everything was moving so quickly, I didn’t have a second to process what was happening. There were just camera flashes, people directing me on where to go, and then suddenly Richard stood in front of me, waving a hand in front of my face.

“Hey, Madelyn, it’s over. Are you okay?” He queried, looking at me with concern.

I cleared my throat. “Yes, yeah. I’m good. There was just a lot that happened all at once.”

Richard grinned. “Well, everyone wants a picture with the first R.A.F.T. Agent. Pretty cool, huh?”

I gave him another fake smile before glancing back to where I thought I saw my mom. Still no one. I was definitely going crazy. “Let’s go get the team and get out of here. I want to change before their fancy dinner tonight.”

He half-frowned. “Of course. Are you doing alright? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

That’s because I thought I did, I screamed in my head before nodding and beelining to Drew. I needed his presence to calm me down. I forced a smile and joined his side, talking animatedly to my mom, Joan, and the team.

Maybe, just maybe, if I pretended long enough, I’d forget the haunting hallucinations of my dead mother.

I combed my fingers through my hair, trying to separate my curls to give them a more dramatic look. I was grateful that these weren’t my natural curls; otherwise I’d never be able to get my hair untangled. I touched up my makeup and applied red lipstick, then smoothed my hands over my tight fitting black dress. I tightened the champagne silk bows that sat on my shoulders, winked at myself, and exited the bathroom.

As if on cue, there was a knock on my door.

“Come in!” I yelled as I stepped into my chunky black heels and secured them around my ankles. They were comfortable and practical.

The door swung open and in walked a very handsome-looking Drew. His curls were slicked back, and he’d added a tie to his suit and changed into nicer shoes.

I stood up straight and drank in his reaction as his eyes swept up and down my body, his jaw locking and his body freezing.

“So, how do I look? Fit to attend an FBI dinner?” I wondered, posing for him in a very un-Madelyn-like way.

He cleared his throat and met my gaze. “Maddie, you look stunning,” he rasped and stepped closer to me. He seemed mesmerized by me, and I relished the feeling it gave me. “I’ve never seen you in a dress before.”

I smirked. “That’s because you haven’t known me for very long,” I quipped before brushing past him to go to my living room. I transferred my lipstick, phone, ID, credit card, and pepper spray into a small clutch.

“I intend to change that,” he purred as he wrapped his arms around me from behind, pulling me in close and nuzzling my neck.

I giggled and squirmed away from him. “As much as I’d love that right now, we have somewhere to be,” I scolded.

Drew sighed. “Yeah, yeah. Let’s go.”

I looked around in awe at the massive ballroom laid out before us. Every table was draped with crisp white linens and decorated with black floral centerpieces. The lighting was dim, there was a designated section for dancing, and the buzz of chatter was almost as loud as the mood-setting live music.

“Wow, they throw this dinner for every graduating class?” I murmured as I leaned into Drew for support.

He chuckled and draped his arm over my shoulders. “Not necessarily. Usually there is some celebration dinner, but the reason tonight’s is so fancy is because we are here for more than one reason,” he explained in a hushed tone as he gave me a knowing look.

My eyes widened. “Dear God, please tell me they did not throw this because of me,” I hissed, anxiously glancing around the room as I noticed several people staring at me.

Drew snickered. “Not completely. If you’re wondering why they’re all looking at you, it’s probably because they’re jealous that you were Patient Zero for the R.A.F.T. Experiment. And also because you captured me,” he responded, trying to be clever and coy.

I grimaced as I gave him a mildly disgusted look. I shrugged out from under his embrace. “As much as I enjoy what we have, I don’t want anyone thinking I slept my way to this point,” I grumbled, crossing my arms across my chest to indicate how closed off I felt. “So if the R.A.F.T. Experiment isn’t the only reason why we’re here tonight, what else could it be?”

Drew’s eyes scouted the room. “Well, several Bureau officials are actually present to convince other government officials that this should be an active division. Even if it’s one recruit at a time,” he told me, his steely-blue eyes shifting from working the room to meeting my amber gaze. He grabbed my hands then, staring intently into my eyes. “You see, Maddie, your success in this program could pave the way for many other individuals.”

I pursed my lips. “Drew, if I was going to be the center of attention tonight, you should’ve told me. We’re still working on rebuilding our trust as it is,” I whispered.

He frowned. “That’s where you’re mistaken. It’s not about you, per se. Yes, you are Patient Zero, and you have been a success, but tonight is about swooning other government officials. You’ll probably be introduced to a few people, but you’ll most likely just be the talk of the evening.”

I groaned and rolled my eyes. I ignored Drew’s normal reaction and instead continued scoping out peoples’ reactions to me. “Whatever. What about the rest of the recently graduated? Why are they here?”

Drew shrugged. “Like I said, there’s always a celebration dinner for the new agents. In this case, they made it a little more extravagant for the Bureau’s guests. So most of this is for all the new agents, you included.”

I nodded. “That makes me feel better,” I admitted, but just then I felt a tapping on my shoulder. I turned to see Richard standing before me.

Richard glanced at Drew. “Do you mind if I borrow her for just a second? There are a few people who’d like to meet her.”

I smiled tersely at Richard. “After you, Richard,” I said, following his lead to a small group of people.

Richard cleared his throat. “This is Agent Madelyn Carver, our first R.A.F.T. Agent. Madelyn, this is Marie Sowell with the CIA, Zachary Sauls with MI6, and Jim Freeman with the White House,” Richard introduced. I could feel his penetrating gaze on me as I process the titles of each person standing before me.

I gulped nervously and extended a hand to shake each one of their hands. “Hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you all,” I said before clasping my hands tightly in front of me. I hoped I wouldn’t mess it up and make Richard look bad in any way.

“Agent Carver, tell me, how was your experience with the training of this program?” The only woman, Marie, asked me.

I gave her a standoffish smile. “It was great. I learned a lot from the team I worked with. They were very hands on,” I told them, keeping my face as stoic as possible as I spoke.

“You looked awfully cozy with the gentleman that walked you in here. If I’m not mistaken, that was your trainer, Andrew Matthews, right?” Jim asked me, his brown eyes almost black in the dim light.

I briefly glanced at Richard only to see a tendon bulge in his temple. The question clearly made him nervous, which gave me the exact direction I needed to answer the question. “Yes, Drew was my trainer,” I subtly corrected him to what Drew preferred to be called. “He was the only person that was able to convince me to take this incredible opportunity. I value his involvement in my life and wouldn’t trade that for the world.”

Marie’s eyes seemed to widen slightly in surprise. “So you feel a personal attachment to him?”

I turned my eyes to her coolly, so she could see that her question didn’t faze me, even though it did a little bit. “I was raped as a child by the man my mother was seeing, at which point she died shortly after from cancer,” I snapped. All of their jaws dropped at my audacity and openness. Quite frankly, I was too. “I hadn’t been able to connect with a man since before then, so the fact that Agent Matthews was able to get through to me at all was a surprise on its own. If you’re asking me if I have a personal involvement with him and whether or not that personal involvement has influenced my decision to stay with the FBI, you’re mistaken. I left the program for a brief period of time when my past caught up with me, but promptly returned when I realized I could be an asset to this team. Regardless of what my personal relationships may be with anyone in the FBI, I have chosen to be here on my own the entire time, have seized the chance to do something better with my life, and have assisted in a major sex trafficking case, which may or may not be led by the man who raped me,” I continued, barely coming up for air as I rambled on, meeting each of their eyes as I spoke and enjoying their discomfort as I did so. “Any other questions?”

Zachary tentatively raised his hand. “Do you feel you’ve been adequately trained to serve in the FBI?” He queried in an English accent.

I gave him a cold smile. “Absolutely. I passed every test I needed to in order to be here without having prior experience with firearms, explosives, interview skills, and various self-defense mechanisms.”

“Well, Madelyn, it seems as though the FBI got really lucky with their first recruit,” Jim sneered.

I looked him dead in the eyes. “No, they didn’t get lucky. They had damn good taste in who they picked. They did their research, asked around, vetted me, met me in person, and then decided I would be a good fit. Because of their due diligence, I stand here today serving the United States of America. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to thank the team who helped get me here in a matter of weeks,” I finished as I glanced over their shoulders to see Emma and Heather at the bar.

“Yes, of course. Thank you for your time, Agent Carver,” Marie responded quietly, stepping aside to let me pass.

I gave Richard a fond smirk before bolting toward the two women who had made my training slightly less miserable. I put one hand on each of their shoulders and leaned in. “Thank God you guys are here,” I muttered. They both turned their faces toward mine.

Heather giggled. “Feel overwhelmed yet?”

I casted my eyes skyward. “As much as I’d like to deny that, the truth is I am. I didn’t know that I was going to be interviewed by government officials,” I whisper-yelled, my eyes flicking between them.

“Honey, you are a government official now,” Emma stated before her lips flattened. “But yes, these events can be brutal. You being the first person in this program will definitely raise some eyebrows. The important thing is you remember who you are throughout all of this. It’s easy to lose yourself when you’re trying to please everyone else,” she said with chagrin, her cheeks flushing as she looked away. “Speaking from personal experience.

I released the both of them, letting my arms drop to my sides, choosing to not acknowledge Emma’s self-declaration. If there’s one thing I’d learned about her in the short period of time I’d known her, it was that she didn’t like when anyone probed into her personal life. “I feel like I’m in over my head. I shouldn’t have to defend who I am or where I stand with anyone in order to do my damn job.”

Heather’s eyebrows raised. “Welcome to being a woman in a government position,” she grunted. “We’re basically being looked at through a microscope, meanwhile the men get to skate by on ridiculous excuses.”

I looked over my shoulder to see the three people I had just been speaking to looking over at me semi-covertly. I gave them a small smile, then turned and asked the bartender for a gin and tonic. “I get the sense they’re trying to take down more than just the R.A.F.T. program,” I hissed as I gratefully accepted the drink from the bartender, left a tip, and followed the girls to a standing cocktail table.

Emma frowned. “What are you talking about?”

I raised a shoulder in a half-shrug in an attempt to be more discreet. I had my back to the wall behind us so I could face the rest of the room. “I don’t know,” I said, which was true. I was still trying to collect my thoughts after my bizarre interactions with the government officials. “They kept asking me about my involvement with Drew, so I shut that shit down fast. I don’t know if they were trying to find some flaw in the R.A.F.T. program entirely, or if maybe they were trying to catch one of us in a lie? Either way, I didn’t get a good feeling.”

“Who knows,” Heather said with dismay. “Either way, I would steer clear of them the rest of the night. Enjoy your accomplishment. You’ll never be a new recruit ever again, so bask in this while you can.”

I glanced at the both of them once more. “You’re right,” I stated before rounding the table. “Thanks. I’m going to find my mom,” I announced before twirling away and searching the room until my eyes settled on a small round table with my mother and Joan sitting at it. I beelined my way directly there and slid into the seat next to Joan.

“Dee!” My mom squealed. “Joan and I were just talking about you. It was so heartwarming to see you socializing with those sweet young girls over there!”

I scowled. “They’re on my team, Mom,” I grumbled.

“I’m really happy for you, Dee,” Joan whispered. I slid my gaze over to her to see her brown eyes swelling with tears as she smiled proudly at me.

Then something weird happened.

As if reacting to her emotions, I felt my throat close up and my eyes burn like tears were threatening to spill over. The hormone goddess sat on her chaise, sobbing as she dabbed her eyes with a tissue. I looked away from her so I could get my bearings. “Thanks, Jo. I wouldn’t have so many moments of self-realization if it weren’t for you,” I told her.

She barked out a laugh before kissing my cheek. “I’ll give you and your mom a minute. Come find me later.” She bounded away. I turned my attention to my mom, who now had my undivided attention for the first time in what felt like years.

“So,” she started as she pursed her lips. “No more running. It’s time we talk.”

I swallowed thickly and looked down at my hands, which had subconsciously began wringing themselves together. “I kept meaning to call and tell you. It all just happened so fast and I’ve barely had time to process how I’m feeling with all of it.”

Mom sighed and leaned across the table. “I’m not upset with you, Dee. You’ve been reserved for so long, and it’s imperative you move at your own pace with this. I just want to know how you’re doing.”

My eyes burned once more, and this time I felt it in my sinuses too. “I’m good, Mom,” I confessed, my voice cracking. “Like, better than I’ve ever been.”

She gave me a genuine grin, her eyes reflecting tears. “I can tell. You’re glowing like you never have, while somehow still being inherently you.” This was a statement, not a question or something I would need to respond to.

“I just…” My voice faded as I searched for the words. “It’s been a tough journey, these last few months. But somewhere I made a right turn. I never thought I would get a chance at true happiness and now… now I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t know how to reign in my temper.”

Mom laughed as she wiped away a tear from one of her green eyes. “It’s so amazing to see you make a complete one-eighty. I’m so proud of you,” she claimed as she leaned in to give me a hug. “I hate to cut this short, my dear, but my work called just before I got here and requested I come back. But I was so glad to see your progress.”

My smile fell. “You’re leaving now? They haven’t even served dinner yet,” I protested.

She touched my cheek. “I know, I was bummed too. Try to enjoy your evening with that handsome piece of eye candy, okay? I love you.” She kissed my cheek, then my forehead as she rose to her feet.

I gave her a sad smile, stood, and gave her a quick hug before watching her almost race to the exit. Her behavior seemed a little odd, but I was immediately distracted as Drew stepped into my line of sight. He was shaking hands with people, grinning ear to ear, and flashing his dashing dimples. His curls shone in the warm light, and his suit fit him so nicely it had my inner hormone goddess drooling.

I took a deep breath to suppress the emotions threatening to emerge and stalked over to him. I looped my arm through his and beamed up at him. “Care to dance?” I suggested innocently, blinking up at him.

He looked down at me, appalled, before politely excusing himself. His brows furrowed in concern as he turned toward me. “Are you okay?” He susurrated.

I scoffed. “Would you just dance with me?” I demanded, hoping it would help distract me.

He stared at me for a moment before slowly nodding. “Do you even know how to dance?” He hissed.

I guffawed in a way that was so not Madelyn Carver. Maybe it was the new title, but the happiness that seemed to be pumping through me was a very strange and unfamiliar feeling. “No, but I figured if I had a good teacher, that I’d be able to learn. It wouldn’t be the first time,” I breathed in a seductive tone, glancing up at him through my eyelashes.

Drew looked away and cleared his throat. “Alright, I’ll dance with you. But you need to be on your best behavior. No mischief.”

I snaked my hands over his shoulders and rested them on the back of his neck. I batted my eyelashes at him. “Let’s put your money where your mouth is, Andrew,” I jeered as I grabbed his hand and led him to the dance floor.

I knew the basic position to start in, so I let him take the lead as he gracefully guided me in elegant circles, up and down, around and around, until I was dizzy with desire. Being led in a dance by an attractive man, someone who seemed to accept me for who I really, truly, honestly was felt intoxicating, and my hormones were completely out of my control at that point. I just stared up into his eyes, unable to look away as Drew released me into turns, reeled me back in, dipped me, and pulled me right back into his arms. I was breathless and stumbling head over heels.

My inner hormone goddess agreed. Her hair was in curlers, her face covered in a green mask, and her feet wore slippers while she held a sign that read: Accept Me!

When the more uptempo songs dissipated into softer songs, Drew pulled me in close to him, holding me close by the small of my back while the other hand clutched my free hand.

“You belong here, Maddie,” he breathed as he leaned his forehead against mine.

My lips twitched into a smile. “I’d believe just about anything you said right now,” I told him as vulnerability washed over me.

Drew’s eyes flickered with an unnamed emotion and he opened his mouth to say something to me when we were interrupted.

“Agent Carver, Agent Matthews, I apologizing for interjecting on this seemingly, uh, intimate moment,” a balding man said. Drew and I turned our faces in his direction before Drew promptly let go of me.

“Not a problem, Chief Webber. If you haven’t been properly introduced, sir, this is Agent Madelyn Carver,” Drew said. “The first graduate of the R.A.F.T. program.”

Chief webber smiled, his beady brown eyes contrite. “Yes, so I’ve heard. I just had to see her in person. I’m Bureau Chief Luther Webber. Agent Carver, it is a delight to have you with us. Your background, experience, skills, and adaptability will be an excellent addition to the Bureau,” he said.

I simpered and shook his hand. “It’s a pleasure to be here, sir.”

He put his hand on my shoulder and looked intently into my eyes. “Believe me when I say the pleasure is all mine. You’re in good hands here.”

For a moment I felt completely and utterly under his spell as his gaze entranced me. His calloused yet gentle touch on my shoulder resonated in a bone-chilling echo, leaving me feeling dirty and empty inside. I watched as he left. My once adoring mood melted into deep-seated terror. I couldn’t tell you what exactly left me feeling this way; I could only tell you the very real, very present sinister presence he left behind.

I looked up at Drew only to see him smiling nervously at me. I realized he had no idea the altercation that just took place between myself and Chief Webber.

Something’s off with him.

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